Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Neville Back into England Squad Room

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Gary Neville will help select England’s final squad before Euro 2016 via a conference call from Spain before the Valencia head coach links up with the national team next week.

Neville gave up his media commitments after being appointed manager of Valencia in December, but continued in his role as England coach.

The former England and Manchester United right-back has endured a difficult time at Valencia but will still be joining Roy Hodgson’s squad during the international break as planned.

Neville is currently preparing for an important Europa League last-16 match with Athletic Bilbao, but will spend some of Wednesday afternoon finalising the England squad for the upcoming friendlies in Germany and at home to Holland.

The conference call with Hodgson and coach Ray Lewington will decide the squad that will be announced at Wembley on Thursday, just hours before Valencia look to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit and reach the Europa League quarter-finals.

Neville will also lead Valencia in Sunday’s Primera Division match against Celta Vigo, before travelling to the UK along with England’s performance analysis manager Andy Scoulding, who is working at Valencia as technical coach.

The pair’s commitments in Spain meant they missed last month’s England squad meeting at St George’s Park, where around 40 of the 47 players called up by Hodgson since the World Cup got together.

Danny Welbeck was among those in attendance despite having not played for the national team since last March, but the Arsenal forward’s return to action, and form, means he is set to be included in the squad for this month’s friendlies.

Jack Wilshere attended the get-together but remains sidelined with a long-term leg injury, while his Arsenal team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also absent.

A knee injury means the England captain Wayne Rooney is the biggest name ruled out of this month’s matches, joining his Manchester United team-mates Phil Jones and Luke Shaw on the sidelines.

The United teenager Marcus Rashford is not expected to be included despite his remarkable emergence, but the Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge and Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster look likely to be involved after recovering from injury.

Few new faces are expected to make their way into Hodgson’s squad, but the West Ham captain Mark Noble and Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater have been pushing for call-ups.

Hodgson recently said both players were “knocking on the door” and Marc Albrighton, who downplayed his own England chances, believes his team-mate Drinkwater should be included.

“I don’t see why not,” the winger said. “He has been fantastic for us. He has really come into his own. If people are going to be picked on form, then he should be one of the first names on the squad list.”

Hodgson will not be able to call upon Fabian Delph, Danny Ings and Charlie Austin due to injury, but the Newcastle winger Andros Townsend will be hoping to be involved after a hamstring strain.

Everton’s Leighton Baines and John Stones are edging their way back to full fitness, while Ryan Mason is injury-free but struggling to get into the Tottenham line-up on a regular basis.

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